Little more than a week after the Borders Bookstore signage was removed from the facade of the shuttered flagship store in downtown Ann Arbor, Mich., a new independent store is opening its doors a few blocks away in a 2,600-square-foot retail space next door to a restaurant.
After signing the lease on the space Tuesday, Hilary Lowe, who was a sales rep at Simon & Schuster for five years, and her fiancé, Michael Gustafson, a freelance sports writer and video producer, who is also writing a novel, will open Literati Bookstore this spring. The store will be a general full-service bookstore, with an emphasis on literary fiction and nonfiction. There will be three to five part-time employees assisting Lowe and Gustafson “in the beginning,” said Lowe, who serviced independent bookstore accounts for S&S for three years.
The two, both Michigan natives, moved from Brooklyn to Lowe’s hometown of Ann Arbor in July with the specific intention of opening a bookstore.
“There are a number of great niche bookstores in downtown Ann Arbor. The only thing they’re missing is a general bookstore,” Lowe told PW, “We’ll try to fill the void left downtown by Shaman Drum [which closed in 2009] and Borders’ flagship store closing [in 2011]. Trade bookstores are thriving here. Shaman Drum and Borders’ flagship store closed for reasons other than the trade book market here.”
While the exterior signage at the former Borders store taken down last week has been donated to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, Literati will have its own mementoes salvaged from Borders: more than 50 bookshelves were disassembled and moved into Literati’s new space, where they are being reassembled, to be filled with the bookstore's offerings.